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SOCIAL    AND    POLITICAL    LIFE           197

not alter a word of it if he were speaking to us to-day.

According to Hanfeitse, the beginning of political wisdom
lies in rejecting all moral platitudes and in shunning all efforts
at moral reforms. I believe the sooner we stop talking about
moral reforms of the people, the sooner shall we be able to give
China a clean government. The fact that so many people per-
sist in talking of moral reforms as a solution for political evils
is a sign of the puerility of their thinking and their inability to
grasp the political problems as political problems. They should
see that we have been talking moral platitudes continuously for
the last two thousand years without improving the country
morally or giving it a cleaner and better government. They
should see that, if moraJizations would do any good, China
should be a paradise of saints and angels to-day. I suspect that
the reason why moral reform talks are so popular, especially
with our officials, is because they know that such talks do
nobody any harm. Probably all our moral uplifters have a bad
conscience. I find that General Chang Tsungch'ang and
others who want to restore Confucianism and uplift others'
morals generally keep from five to fifteen wives and were
adepts at seducing young girls. We say, "Benevolence is a
good thing,95 and they echo, "True, benevolence is a good
thing," and no harm is done anybody. On the other hand, I do
not hear any of our officials talking about government by
law, because the people would reply, "All right, we will
prosecute you by law and send you to prison." The earlier,
therefore, we stop talking about morality and switch over to the
subject of the strict enforcement of law, the sooner we make it
impossible for these officials to dodge the issue and pretend to
read the Confucian classics in the foreign settlements.

Briefly, we may say, therefore, that there were two opposing
conceptions of government in Hanfeitse's times, as well as in
our own times: the Confucian conception of government by
gentlemen and the legalist conception of government by law
rather than by persons. The Confucian system assumes every
ruler to be a gentleman and proceeds to treat him like a gentle-
man. The legalist system assumes every ruler to be a crook and
proceeds to make provisions in the political system to prevent
him from carrying out his crooked intentions. Obviously the